Nick Zoricic dies after crashing in World Cup skicross event

Canadian skier Nick Zoricic has died after crashing heavily in a World Cup skicross race in Switzerland.

Zoricic, 29, suffered fatal head injuries when he collided with safety nets at the side of the course after going wide over the final jump.

Organisers abandoned the Grindelwald event after Saturday's incident.

It is the second tragedy to stun Canadian sport recently following freestyle skier Sarah Burke's death after a training accident in January.

Television pictures showed Zoricic fell through the nets as his skis and poles were thrown clear.

He was treated on the course before being airlifted by helicopter to hospital for further treatment.

NICK ZORICIC FACTFILE

  • Born: 19 February 1983
  • First FIS World Ski Championships start: 19 January 2009
  • FIS World Cup starts: 36
  • FIS World Cup podiums: 2

The International Ski Federation [FIS] confirmed Zoricic died from his injuries at 1135 GMT.

A statement from the governing body said: "Nick Zoricic fell heavily just before the finish in the round of eight, crashing directly into the safety netting and thereafter lying motionless.

"The organising committee, FIS and [event organisers] Swiss Ski express their deepest condolences to the family and friends of Nick Zoricic and the Canadian ski team."

Zoricic raced on the World Cup circuit for more than three years after beginning his career as an alpine skier.

He finished eighth in the 2011 World Championships held in Utah, United States.

British snowboarding number one Zoe Gillings was among the first to pay tribute to the Bosnian-born racer.

"Another tragedy, RIP Canadian Nick Zoricic after a horrific crash at the skicross in Grindelwald. Heart goes out to his family and friends," Gillings wrote on Twitter. 

United States alpine skier Ted Ligety, a gold medallist at the 2006 Olympics, added:  "Skiing is a great sport that gives but it also takes. Sad day to lose Nick Zoricic, you'll be missed bud."